Running aground is one of the most sharing experience there is. You are sitting there, looking hopeless, tide running low while all the boats are passing by waving at you. You can’t hide, and the name of your proud vessel is written wide and big on the hull. A few more hours and you even gonna hear you on the VHF radio as a “Marine warning”. You know what? I’ve been there many times…
There is some part along the coast of USA that I’ve did the waterway (A long stretch of inside rivers), there is no wind there so sailboat are motoring and trying to get the most out of their diesel. A slight push more on the throttle may push you a additional 0.3 knots letting you passing in front of the other boat you follow for hours!
That’s exactly what happen.. I was leaving St-Augustine in Florida. Beautiful sun, tides pushing me, holding the helm with 4 others boats. As I never had any engine before I was playing this game, I was pushing mine just a little bit more to “pass” in front of the crowd and be the leader. I was looking fantastic with beautiful comments on the boat while passing them one by one. Wind blowing in my hair, feeling of freedom and leadership. It was a great day.
Around noon, my belly decided it was time for a sandwich, single handed in those rivers is not always easy but thanks to that Tiller pilot. I was peacefully making me some kind of left over lunch, while sneaking out outside I noticed a weird buoy. Oh no problem, rush outside pushing the helm. It’s all good….
Boom, bang, Vlang…..
The boat is on a beautiful white sand bank, hit it hard at 6 knots. Just as this marvelous vessel is now in distress I see those people I’ve passed today going one by one, giving me this beautiful look of “What the heck you were doing”, while keeping their way. They all understood that they needed to be on the other side of the buoy with me pointing this out well.
I was stuck, tides running out, with no ways of moving my fat 11 tons ass out of there. I felt like I should raise all the sails up, not for getting out of there, but to look like I was sailing so fast that’s why the boat was starting to get that angle! After a hour, a fisherman passed by, offering me to tow me out of there with his 2x 150hp engine. Well why not!
So here I am taking some lines, doing some magic knots and giving it to this wonderful helping new friend. Hearing those powerful sound of 300hp combined pulling me out of there was such a relief feeling.
I was starting to feel the boat moving, getting drag into deep water. I was getting free! When….
Boom, bang, Vlang…..
My trusty diesel came to a stop. I’ve noticed the fisherman let the line go and didn’t tell me while doing so. The line went right into my propeller… Current pushing me back on the sand bank… What a day.
Now I have to dive in that 3 knots current, trying to cut a 5/8″ Nylon line stuck around my prop. My own line. I’ve lost my favorite knife, but finally cut through it in about 1 hour.
I’ve sit there for 11 hours, until tides was high enough to get out of it and went to sleep in anchorage not far from there.
Sometime it’s better to just sit and wait!